The Oxfordshire County Council has put out a request for consultations on two transport-related plans – for traffic filters in Oxford and for the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan (COTP). These plans have been proposed with the intention of reducing traffic, fighting climate change and promoting more sustainable travel.
Traffic filters mean that private cars cannot go through certain locations without a permit, which would have to be applied for by residents or those that live locally. They would generally operate 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. The fine for cars that go through despite not being exempt would be £70. Cars would be monitored by automatic number plate recognition. The aim is to reduce travel levels across the city, allowing for a better bus system and more incentive to walk or cycle, as well as helping tackle air pollution. If approved, there would then be a six month trial in the summer of 2023.
The Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan is part of a wider, county-wide plan (the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. This has ambitious aims, such as delivering a net-zero transport network by 2040. Other aims include a ‘comprehensive, safe cycle network, to rival the best in Europe’ and ‘a travel hierarchy prioritising sustainable travel…20 minute neighbourhoods where everything people need for their daily lives can be found within a 20-minute walk’. The aforementioned traffic filters will be just one part of this overarching plan.
The Council have made a plea for students to get involved, with Duncan Enright, the cabinet member for transport, saying “students are very unlikely to have cars and instead depend on buses and bikes more. That different perspective is very important in making sure our plans work. In the past perhaps students haven’t been asked for their views, but that’s changing under the new Labour, Green and Lib Dem Cabinet”.
There are surveys on the Oxfordshire County Council website where you can give your opinion, and also find out more information about the proposals. The deadline to respond to the consultation is Thursday the 13th of October.